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Human Rights “NGO OPERATIONS GROUNDED” Staff Serve Under Continuous Threats

Soroti- Soroti Development Association and NGOs network (SODANN), human rights NGO, at the peak of closing down following continuous threat to the lives of its staff an official has revealed.

According to the Daily Monitor, Mr Emmanuel Ogaram, a human rights monitor at SODANN, said since gunmen came to their offices last year looking for the coordinator, their operations have been hampered by threats to their lives.

 “We live in a state of fear. We cannot even do our work of protecting people’s human rights smoothly” Mr Ogaram said.

Genesis of the attack:

Since May 7, 2014 at around 3pm, more threats have been recorded by the staffs an act that has resulted to the staff abandoning their workplace thus crippling the vulnerable people they were representing.

In May 15, 2014, one of the Uganda’s national dailies, The Daily Monitor, reported an incident in which a staff of SODANN was put at gunpoint to reveal the whereabouts of Mr Moses Omiat, the NGO’s chief executive officer, and another staff. Mr Omiat has since fled into hiding and no longer receives unknown calls to his cellular phone.

“The condition under which we are operating has become unbearable and this will force us to close our office very soon”

In October 2015, Suspected thugs, broke into the office of a human rights organization- Soroti Development Association’ walking away with property worth millions of shillings besides documented reports on human rights violations incidences as per the press release from the Frontline Defenders International. http://www.northernewswire.com/special-reports/human-rights/soroti-development-association-loses-millions-of-shillings-to-suspected-thugs.html

Soroti Resident District Commissioner Mr Isaac Lulaba, who heads the district security committee, acknowledged the threats to SODANN staff and said the government was doing everything to address the matter, which he described as a sophisticated crime.

“The staffs are being trailed using their phones and other forms of communication gadgets to locate them, making it complicated and risky,” he observed.

He advised the affected staff to keep in touch with security and follow the guidance by security to avoid escalating their fate.

Threats at SODANN staff are said to be related to the work they are doing on human rights protection in Teso area where they have documented gross violations implicating some big people in the sub-region.

SODANN advocates for respect of human rights and documents violations & abuses in the Teso Sub Region.

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